Please visit my Soundclick page, and check out
Bob Frazier's Music Page
Sponsored by S.F.T. Inc.
Does your mind work in a NON-LINEAR manner? Go HERE to find out!
Or, if you are concerned about 'global warming', try THIS.
Press HERE for MP3's and MIDI sequences,
press HERE for music links,
or press HERE for Music Theory!
If you can do it, it ain't bragging (Babe Ruth?)
Background sound removed since it's no longer a novelty - MIDI file is HERE.
A number of years ago I did a radio show, for a semi-professional organization
known as "ATS Radio", and for a small fee I was able to buy 30 minutes
of radio time each week. Each show started with the following phrase:
"This is Bob Frazier on the music page of the radio magazine..."
So, what you see here is the MUSIC PAGE of our Internet
I have been playing guitar since I was 6 years old, or even earlier (when my
dad would allow me to use his). Though I have never been given ANY lessons, I
have become, in my opinion, a competent musician. When I was 6 years old,
I got a rather small electric guitar for Christmas, with a 'Greg' label on the
head stock. It was BARELY playable (strings were too heavy, and too far from the
neck) but I at least tried to use it, though not with much success. I even got
one of those air-driven Magnus chord organs when I was 10 years old, but only
'toyed around' with music until I was about 12, when I started getting more serious
about it. At that time I discovered just how "un-playable" my guitar really was,
so I started modifying the bridge and the nut (using a pocket knife to shave things
down as needed) and lowered the strings enough so I could play it. Then, on my
15th birthday, I got a REAL guitar - a Goya acoustic/electric, which had the worst
feedback problem I've ever seen in any guitar (some players might want this, however).
Still, I pursued. Since my family never really had a lot of money, I typically
bought old amplifier or hi-fi chassis and speakers at the
San Jose Flea Market, and combined the results to build amplifiers of steadily
increasing power. I also spent a LOT of my time tinkering with various electronic
circuits of the day (some of which were a bit unstable), usually stuff that I
designed from scratch, and occasionally I ruined speakers by pumping too much power
through them. Still, amidst the obstacles, I pursued (I don't easily give up on
ANYTHING when I put my mind to it).
Over time, I have collected a much better set of instruments, though I've sold
several of them due to lack of space to play. Also, my mother once owned a
music store in Seaside, near Monterey (Williams Music) until she retired, so
some of my equipment I was able to purchase from her - there's no way I could
have gotten a better price anywhere, and not just because she's my mother!
Some time ago I found a rather nice shareware application called "The NoteWorthy Composer",
produced by Eric Heile of NoteWorthy ArtWare. If you have any questions about the product, you
can check out Eric's NoteWorthy ArtWare HOME PAGE.
Yes, I did register it. It works very well under Windows '95, which is the only
place where I seem to be able to play songs like "Windows '95 Blues", which won't play
properly under Windows 3.1 without a 'wave table' card - there are just too many simultaneous
notes. Most 'wave table' cards allow at least 32 simultaneous notes, so there should be no
problem with 'wave table' cards in general.
Concerning sound cards:
I seemed to have some rather poor luck with sound cards, until around 2002, when I purchased
a SoundBlaster PCI32 sound card (to replace an Ensoniq card that didn't have sufficient driver support),
especially with respect to COMPATIBILITY with newer operating systems. My first sound card was a 'ProSonic'
Media Vision, which didn't work right with Win '95. I then got a wave table card to replace it,
for the main reason that Wave Tables are superior, among other things. That was an SC800 'Wave32'
card made by Reveal Computer Products. However, its drivers gave me trouble under Win '95, and
there were no NT drivers or future support (the company went belly-up). SO, when I installed
NT 4.0 on my system (dual boot) for software development, I bought a Turtle Beach Tropez Plus,
having seen NT drivers (for the 'Crystal' chip set) for it. THAT was a BIG mistake! Even the beta
NT 5.0 drivers didn't let the wave tables work, and I kept having "little problems" all of the
time, not to mention that MIDI files were significantly "out of time". THAT drove me INSANE, to
the point that the frustration of such poor quality precluded me writing any MIDI files for a while.
What was worse, was that when I contacted Turtle Beach about the problems, they either IGNORED ME or
said things like "well, our NEWER CARDS DO support Windows NT!" THAT was REALLY
HELPFUL! (not) SO, when THAT card finally started DYING, I bought (for the first time) something
with REAL promise: A PCI sound card by SIIG, the 'Soundwave Pro PCI'. Not only does it have wave
tables in SOFTWARE (meaning you can 'upgrade' it or (theoretically) modify it yourself) but it runs
under NT 4.0 *AND* Windows 2000 (with minor bugs, however, in Windows 2000, when it was still 'in beta'
and SIIG never promised it would work anyway).Besides, I paid less for THIS card than I did for the
first wave table card I bought, and it's PCI. And of course, THEN I upgraded it to an Ensoniq card
for the improved wavetables, and ran into driver incompatibility problems (again) with XP.
My sound card problems (for the most part) disappeared once SoundBlaster (now Creative Labs) purchased
Ensoniq's wavetable technology, and I still use it for my current music production, even though it's a
nearly 10 year old design. I admit, I did have to fix the wavetables, but I was able to download
a wave table editor from the Creative Labs web site some time ago (I do not know if they still have it
available, try a search engine if you want to get it) and this let me fix the 2 or 3 patches that were
just, plain, wrong in their 8Mb wavetable set. And, of course, THAT is the one I have been using. It's
not perfect, still sounds a little 'robotic', but does the job well enough for now.
BobF (at) mrp3 (dot) com.
MUSIC FILES - Windows ".MID" MIDI (RIFF) Format, and MP3 Format
(Use wave tables for best MIDI results, every soft-synth I've tried lacks realism)
- Mondo (new) (
) named after a friend of mine (Armando) who wrote a song he called 'Noah' back when we were in High School. It was a campy
folky acoustic guitar song that used a few open string chords, something with a reasonable 'coolness' factor, at least when
you're in High School. Recently I thought it would be fun to take the original and greatly enhance it, which I've done here.
Now it only (barely) resembles the original, even though it's a (sort of) tribute to it.
- 80's KB song (working title, proof of concept) (
) This is something I have been pondering since the mid-80's, proof of concept only, still needs vocals or ???
Oh, and check out that 'Geddy Lee style' bassline. Your welcome.
- Technicolor Ectoplasm (
) Techno beat, very busy, pounding rhythms, analog KB with help from SB32 General MIDI.
- Robotz (
) (recorded November 2004, originally written in 1985) - Definitely 80's New Wave, keyboards and synth drums, very 'robotic'.
This song was actually inspired by an Atari demo program from the mid 1980's, and may bear some resemblance to it.
- Summer's Last Sunset (
) (re-mp3'd 1/16/2003) - A 'smooth jazz'/fusion instrumental, similar to a cross between Enigma and Cusco. I had some difficulty getting
the MP3 encoder to work without causing distortion, as the song has a rather unsual frequency distribution. So the overall volume level may
be a bit low for some people's tastes, but believe me, I couldn't go any higher. Anyway, enjoy!
- Why Do You Drug the Children (
) - This is probably
one of the most meaningful songs I've ever written, if I say so myself - it's an anti-drug song, specifically anti-Ritalin, about the way
that the creative children, and often times the highly intelligent children, our future engineers, musicians, and artists, are being
singled-out and 'diagnosed' 'attention deficit' simply because teachers, so-called psychologists, and gummint lackies have decided
that these children are a problem, and that drugging them into a stupor so they don't disrupt the classroom is the solution - never mind
that it turns them into drugged-out zombies, often forcing them into a program of "special education", and an eventual downward spiral
that can be traced back to the social laziness of those who supposedly care. Anyway, listen to the song, I said it better in there...
- Road Rage (
) (Re-Mix 1/21/03) - This is an instrumental that I wrote over a decade ago, similar in sound and style to some of the things you find on Rush's "Moving Pictures"
album. It uses MIDI for drums and bass, though I was careful to make it sound "as live as possible", and live guitar - a grueling 4 minutes and
45 seconds worth. Oh, and I used my special reverb setup [sounds best over headphones] to give you a really SPACEY reverb sound on the guitar.
Most recently it was re-mixed (again) using the Nero Wave editor. Nice app! Of special note,
I carefully adjusted the compressor/limiter in a configuration that tries to simulate what a mag tape and vinyl press does to the
sound, so I can get "that mag tape to vinyl sound".
- Pacific Beach Boardwalk (MIDI,
) (Re-Mix 1/21/03) - This is an original composition by me, named after one of my favorite beaches here in San Diego (for PB links, go
HERE and HERE). It
has been re-mixed using the Nero Wave editor, with special care taken (using compression/expansion)
to make it sound as though it were recorded on vinyl in a typical recording studio of the early 1960's.
I originally wrote it for MIDI, then recorded it using 2 guitar tracks (Fender Strat, US made, single
coil lead pickup of course!) and MP3'd it.
The 'Pacific Beach Boardwalk' is several miles long, and runs primarily between the beach houses and the "surfer side"
of the beach. Although I usually go there at night (when no one is out surfing) it is still appropriate to use
'surfer style' music to represent it. Therefore, I have written this particular song in a style similar to 'The Ventures'
or 'The Surfaris', late 1950's and early 1960's style. This style of music is re-gaining popularity since the mid 1990's
(it's no wonder, in my opinion - think 'Pulp Fiction soundtrack' if nothing else), and as such I had been wanting to do
some 'surfer music' for quite a while when I wrote it in 1996. This one, like 'Breaking The Chains' (below), is a MIDI
system stresser. If you can't reproduce 27 simultaneous notes you may have troubles with this one. Each guitar part
uses as many as 12 (2 per string) to get the 'reverb' effect. There are only a couple of places that use 27, but for
the most part it only uses around 20 simultaneous notes.
Or, you can just listen to the MP3 file (which I like better anyway)
There's also a cool PB Boardwalk 'panorama' web page HERE.
- Virtual War (MIDI,
, re-mixed Jan 2004 using Roland JX-3P for a proper analog synth sound)
I created this in an afternoon after thinking about background MIDI's for game programs.
This one would probably do nicely for a flight simulator or virtual war game
- hence the name 'virtual war'. Maybe in the next version of 'Doom'???
- The 80's Forever (MIDI,
) (updated 9/16/97) - This is the first MIDI file that I SPECIFICALY wrote for my old 'wave table' card,
a tribute to the decade of the 80's. I have re-mixed it slightly to sound better on my new card,
and have done an MP3 format version with live guitar - Fender Strat through a pre-CBS (transistorized)
reverb, with chorus and heavy 'tube-like' distortion - a classic 80's guitar sound!
(But, I apologize for my 'E' string going flat during recording - some day I'll re-do it better)
Remember how nice the 80's were, when Ronald Reagan was president, and taxes were
going DOWN, and the U.S. and Japanese economies were going UP, and the U.S. had a lot
of respect overseas, and the music was (in general) positive and 'up beat'? This song
is, in its own way, the epitome of the 80's music. It is done in the classic "new wave"
style, so all of you 'head bangers' out there get ready to 'pogo' to the pounding keyboard
bass at 173 beats per minute.
If you want the OLD one, it's still HERE.
- Suspense(MIDI) - This is a fairly short, yet HIGHLY
suspenseful piece that's ideal for a background MIDI for a page that contains 'breakthrough'
or otherwise highly controversial information. If it sounds strange to you, count '6', not '3'...
NOTE: I have listened to this on an FM card, and it seriously lacks the 'guts' you hear when you
use a WAVE TABLE card. Last I checked, there are good WAVE TABLE cards available for around $100 (US)
at major computer outlets....
- Breaking the Chains (MIDI) - 3/25/98 remix (for previous version,
you can go HERE). In the spirit of breaking all possible
boundaries with respect to MIDI composition (and the style of the music group 'Rush', circa 1981, 1982)
this MIDI file is the result of my efforts to create a proper 'guitar sound' for rock music,
most particularly 70's and 80's rock music. The primary purpose of this song, aside from pure
entertainment, is to prove that there ARE no boundaries with respect to MIDI composition, as long
as you have a device capable of reproducing the resulting sequence. For this file, you really ought
to have a wave table card capable of playing more than 24 simultaneous notes. I know of few
non-Wave Table cards that can play this many simultaneous notes (most are limited to 22, or even 11)
but for the effects to work properly, the guitar part must use as many as 18 of them!
Additional features here is a drum track worthy of Neal Pert, even if I do say so myself. Having
been inspired early on in my music by the group 'Rush', I see it's only appropriate to a MIDI
file with a style much like their own, adding my own touches where I see fit.
This song is called 'Breaking the Chains' because:
There are no boundaries that cannot be exceeded;
There are no chains that cannot be broken.
The limits of our potential exist only in our minds...
- Space Thriller (MIDI,
) - This is an actual symphony in Bb, albeit
a short one, written in a style that might make it a good movie theme, or background music
for a space flight simulator program. To some extent, it was inspired by the theme from
'Star Wars', and various music by Tchaikovsky. You might find similarities to both, if
you listen hard enough. As I have never tried to write any symphonies before, I find it
rather different to say the least, though similar to writing 'Big Band Jazz'. Yet, the
complexity of writing a symphony seems much less than writing 'Big Band Jazz' (to me,
anyway). This particular work is heavy on the strings and brass, and very light on
the woodwind section (piccolo only). Also, there's lots of percussion (tympani, bells).
This, along with a strong 4/4 at march tempo gives it a rather 'military' sound, appropriate
for something having to do with outer space, I'd think.
As an extra added bonus, Windows '9x/NT/2k/ME/XP users can download a screen saver that
uses this same MIDI file as its background sound. Press
to download STAR32S.ZIP (may require PKZIP to uncompress)
NOTE: the 'star32' screen saver was recently modified with an 'anagraphic' mode that allows you
to use 3D glasses (the red/cyan type) to get a better 3D visual effect.
- A Flat Jam (MIDI,
) - This is an original 'straight ahead' jazz
composition by me that uses a 2,5,1 progression in A flat, featuring a 'jazz quartet' that
consists of alto sax, piano, bass, and drums (using percussion on midi channel #10). It has
been mixed to sound best on a WAVE TABLE card. For best results you should use Windows '95
or Wave Tables (earlier versions of Windows just don't seem to render this very well...).
It's the kind of music you'd expect to hear in a typical 'gin joint' or restaurant in La Jolla,
California. Much of the alto saxophone style was "borrowed" from that of an acquaintance of
mine, Joe Marillo, a local San Diego area jazz musician, as well as the styles of John Coltraine,
and Charlie 'The Bird' Parker. Listen carefully and you'll find elements of each style, in various
places, where they fit best.
- Piano Ballad #1 - Some time ago I was asked about the arranging of 'piano ballads',
which may often be found in books, but in the form of chords without any indication of the proper voicing
on the piano. So, I put together a few bars of a typical 'piano ballad' arrangement and provided a short
MIDI file example. Later, I turned the example into this 1.5 minute 'piano ballad', reminiscent of that classic
'piano bar style' background music. Put another dollar into Sam's hat on the way past the piano, would ya?
The formula for a 'One Hit Wonder'
I was thinking about this today and thought I'd write down a few of my ideas about what makes a
music group become a 'one hit wonder'. It's based on some recent observations even, about one
particular artist (nameless).
- Subsequent songs (or 'the flip side' of a single) sound 'too much like' the hit song.
This reflects a lack of creativity, and when I hear this I say 'do something a little
different, ok?'. Music isn't a formula where you can mass produce songs based upon a
- The 'hit' song has a different style than most of the other things the group/artist does.
Remember 'Take On Me' by Ah Ha? What else have they done? I heard one or two of their other
songs and didn't like their 'normal' style. And they didn't like the fact that 'Take On Me'
was their 'one hit', because it wasn't in their normal style.
- The artist is a little "too diverse" in musical composition and style. It's ok to
produce a FEW things that are 'different', but too many 'different things' may alienate
the audience that likes your 'hit'.
- The audience doesn't like most of the songs the artist/group plays and keeps asking
the group/artist to play the hit. Time to hire a professional songwriter to help you
polish up the songs you're working on.
- Far worse than the previous, CHANGING your style to reflect the latest 'fad' music
style. Doing a 'rap' when you're not a rapper. Playing 'dance music' when you're known
as a metal band. It's not called 'crossover' when you do a complete style change in an
attempt to sell more albums. You'll just alienate your existing fans, and then everyone
else just laughs at you trying to be something you're not.
- Like in the movie "The Wonders" the group gets 'too rich too quick' and starts
playing the 'bad boy rock band' game instead of getting hot and working hard to STAY on top.
Think of groups like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, who've been around almost as long as
God, and have ridden the success/slump wave rather well ('cause they're still here).
- focusing too much on 'the hit' instead of trying to create more. This may be the opposite
of one of the previous points, where the audience didn't like most of the songs and always
wants to hear 'the hit'. The opposite problem would be to over-expose 'the hit' and then to
fail to come up with something new.
- Getting sloppy and/or overconfident. Van Halen did this with their 2nd album, and it
stank on ice (my opinion). Even they admit that they recorded it too quickly, and after the
huge success of their first album they 'got sloppy' on their second. Oops.
- 'It only sells because of the video'. I think that's self-explanatory. The VH1
compilation CD's are filled with 'one hit wonder' songs. Each of them had a video, and the
video made the song popular. But the artist/group couldn't hold his/their own outside of
that one song. Music video should make a good song better, not turn an ok song into 'a hit'
I may add others later when I think of them
MIDI over Ethernet - extremely useful for using a remote computer for MIDI playback
A Free MIDI Loopback driver (also has an inexpensive licensed version)
(You'll need something like this for 'MIDI over Ethernet')
Guitar Resources - 'guitarists.net'
The Synth Zone
Indiana University School of Music
NOTE: many of the old links were broken. these have been removed.
Last updated: 02/25/2013
E-Mail: BobF (at) mrp3 (dot) com
Back to Bob Frazier's (personal) web page
Bob's 'Personal Machine' (when on line)
This music page has been sponsored by S.F.T., Inc.
If you have difficulty printing this page, try saving it as TEXT first
with your browser, then print the saved text on your printer.
©1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006-2013 by R. E. Frazier and S.F.T., Inc. - all rights reserved